ANDY Burgess has revealed a seizure during his time at Oxford United led him to discover he had epilepsy.

The former U’s midfielder was rushed to hospital after collapsing in training midway through the 2006/07 season.

It was not an isolated incident, with Burgess suffering more seizures after re-joining Rushden & Diamonds the following summer.

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Reflecting on the ordeal, the 40-year-old said: “I think it was around December, we were training on a Thursday.

“I was jogging in the warm-up, talking to (teammate) Carl Pettefer.

“I collapsed on the training pitch and fitted for about half an hour. I woke up in hospital.

“It was the first epileptic fit I’d had.”

Burgess suffered relegation from the Football League with United in 2006, but the club looked set for an immediate return after starting the Blue Square Premier season with an 18-match unbeaten run.

The midfielder was a key figure under Jim Smith, only for his influence to wane as the campaign continued – and he believes the horrifying incident had an impact.

Burgess said: “On the Tuesday we played in the FA Trophy and in the warm-up the ball hit me and caught the side of my head.

“It wasn’t hard or anything, but I came off in the first half because I was feeling a bit dizzy.

“We had the Wednesday off, I came into training on the Thursday and collapsed.

“I had two further fits when I went back to Rushden, one on the training pitch and one when I was out shopping.

“I think it affected the lads a little bit as well, because it was just after (Cameron midfielder) Marc-Vivien Foe had died on the pitch (in 2003).

“I was on the middle of the training pitch for half an hour, literally fitting. I woke up in hospital and it felt like I’d been in a car crash, my body was horrific.

“I’m still on medication for epilepsy, but it took me a year to get diagnosed.”

Burgess scored his sixth goal of the season on New Year’s Day 2007, but did not add to his tally.

The U’s stumbled and finished second, losing to Exeter City in the play-off semi-finals.

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Burgess returned to Rushden and now manages phoenix club AFC Rushden & Diamonds, recently bringing in former United teammate Chris Willmott as his assistant.

“I’m quite empathetic with footballers when they get criticism, we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes,” he said.

“I saw people saying when Chris was announced as my assistant ‘I wonder if Burge still goes missing in big games’.

“I don’t mind that, but people perhaps don’t see what happened to me that season.

“I’m not using that as an excuse, there were games that I went missing – if I didn’t, I perhaps would have played in the Championship.

“That season, at that point, when things were going good and we were in a good position I had a major trauma in my life that is still part of me now.”

Andy Burgess was talking to the Behind The Badge podcast.